You probably have noticed that a significant aspect of my photographic exploits are driven by experimentation. While I definitely value reading articles and finding interesting workshops and classes to expand my photography skills, there’s a special place in my heart for discovering through trial and error.
In our fast-paced world, we don’t always recognize the value of failures, as a key part of our on-going development; rather a fear of failures tends to hold most of us back from really reaching out and trying something that we may not succeed at on the first five tries. What we do after failing is what determines our successes; we can either decide that we’re going to give up or keep trying until we find success. The childlike creativity that resides in all of us should help with this, because, as a child, we didn’t know how to stop trying; just think about the number of attempts it took to learn how to walk…
In a lot of my abstract work, I will visualize what I am looking to achieve, and I have learned over time to improve the connection between visualization and execution; then there are usually a number of attempts to get just what I want. And even after I get what I want, I will try other variations, because sometimes I discover something a little different…
This series of images is from an Autumn afternoon’s stroll through Tower Hill Botanic Garden; my mind’s eye was driven more by the colors and the breeze through the leaves than anything else, as I allowed it to wander about a bit during this exploration. Playing around with a variety of techniques, such as soft focus, zoom blur and camera motion, I generated this set of images along the theme of Autumn.
The playful nature of this discovery was certainly as much fun as the end result, as I truly enjoyed the process. Hopefully, you explore in a similar fashion, allowing you to break boundaries in your photography and other creative endeavors. I’d love to hear about your journey!
A Fresh Perspective
Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment.
Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael.
My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals.
My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation.
This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections.
Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client.
And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!
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3 thoughts on “Warped Wednesday – pt. 5”
My journey is mainly through trail, but lots of errors. I find I always learn more through my own mistakes, rather than my successes. Success is fleeting — sometimes so random it’s difficult to ascertain how it was achieved. Failure, however, can generally provide more finite results if analyzed – or at the very least, the opportunity to tweak the process for your desired result. Love your images 🙂
Thank you for your insights. Trial and error is an reliable learning methodology! Focused learning really helps in our ability to make progress and feel good about what we achieve. It’s all about the fun!